Catherine Deneuve plays Suzanne Pujol, the wife of a rich industrialist. She hardly has anything to do except running and the occasional chance to cook, when her servants are on holiday – she is a potiche, or a trophy-wife, and seems relatively satisfied with her role, even if her children are not.
During an industrial dispute at his umbrella factory, Robert Pujol is kidnapped by his workers, and Suzanne takes over negotiations with the unions with the help of an ex-lover, the Communist Major MP, Maurice Babin. However, when M. Pujol is released and returns from a vacation, he wants his management role back, and Suzanne isn’t quite ready to relinquish her new-found power.
Potiche is very silly, but very enjoyable. Deneuve blossoms from frumpy wife to power-dressed leader, and Gerard Depardieu is amusing (if not worryingly overweight) as her husband’s nemesis, Babin. It’s 1970’s setting is perfect, as are the opening scenes, which are reminiscent of a seventies sex comedy. Let’s just hope Hollywood doesn’t have designs on a remake.